Thursday, December 27

Open Your Eyes

This month this has happened to us on several occasions. We walk into church and are looking for a good seat for us in front of the interpreter where the 4 of us can sit together & Rebecca can see. We are signing so it is obvious that at least one of us is Deaf. The seats in front are taken by hearing people. I go up and ask them if there is any way that we can sit there, my daughter is deaf - some move, some don't. The last couple of times our family has sat seperately - my husband and Jasmine sit together & I sit up front with Rebecca. One time after our family has already been seperated, a tall hearing man sat right in front of Rebecca, so we switched places so that she could look down the isle if she leaned over to see the interpreter. I told the man, but he either didn't understand me or just ignored me. I think to myself, was I this oblivious before...I don't think I was. At least, I hope that I never did anything that insensitive.

I was worse around Christmas I think because there was more people, but also because they had more things that the congregations had to go up on stage fore like children singing, so the parents wanted to sit up close to see their kids and get pictures. I get that, but not when there is an obvious need for someone else to be sitting close - MOVE!!

Maybe this is just something that I am going to have to get used to. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day that has a handicapped boyfriend in a wheelchair. She has gone through similar situations. People just need to be more aware and compassionate - especially in church. If it can't happen there, what hope do I have for other public places with interpreters for Rebecca.

9 comments:

mishkazena said...

The public does show some insensitivity toward handicapped people. I've encountered that attitude toward wheelchair users, and it galled me to see lack of respect for other people because they are not "100% whole".

Dianrez said...

It's not just the wheelchair riders that meet this attitude--people with baby strollers, wheeled carts or walkers frequently are ignored while struggling to get through doors.

Occasionally someone will hold the door open for them if they are passing through, otherwise they don't go out of their way.

I've been guilty of similar omissions myself. Once I was in a supermarket aisle and noticed a lady in a wheelchair just sitting to one side. I browsed, looking for an item, found it, and saw the lady looking at me as if she would cry. I guessed she needed help and asked, in gesture, can I help you? She pointed to the top shelf, I pointed to a jar, she nodded, and gave it to her.

Let us be more aware of those around us. We can be so blind.

Jean Boutcher said...

It is not the only people with
disabilities that witness the insensitivity of people of all walks of life. I witness day in and day out everytime I go downtown past the Farraqut Square
Park where people ignore the homeless who live there, rain or shine. Out of curiosity, a roving reporter for The Washington Post
posed questions to the homeless. It turned out that some homeless
are not faceLESS; rather, they are
veterans, returning home with mental breakdown from President Bush's senseless Iraq war. Bush is too embarrassed to be posed
with them. Bush prefers to be
posed for a pciture with the
legless and the armless -- so
visible that a soldier is a hero
but what about the other UNSUNG
heroes who have lost nothing but
mental breakdown.

Some people lack the depth. It makes me so upset sad at the same time why people can be so
ignorant praising the legless
to high heavens and ignoring
the invisibly wounded (mental
breakdowns) inflicted by the war.

Ella Mae Lentz said...

I have been involved with several churches that provide interps as part of their ministry to Deaf people. Suggest you be a role model on how to assertively resolve problems like this. Itd benefit Rebecca AND that person AND the whole church if simple demands are made that front pew be reserved for Deaf church goers simply for access purposes. Make sure the church leaders will come to Rebeccas side if requests for ignorant and insensitive people block her view. If they hesistate or make excuses that do not make sense, maybe itd be best to leave that church?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask your Priest or Chaplain to turn off his microphone
for one service. Or just perform the entire service using ASL. We were unable to find a church this year that was interpreting the service for our family.

Anonymous said...

I usually call and request to make a reservation seat in advance or I would arrive a little early to the church.

W. David Samuelsen said...

1. Who said it has to be a reservation ahead of time?

2. Talk with the pastor/priest about the situtation. The pastor/priest needs to be resolved and inform the congregation of the needs of those who are deaf and visually impaired (I'm not talking about the blind but also near-sighted)

Shari said...

I was going to say the same thing Ella and David said.

Why not have reserved seating in your church? How many d/Deaf people does your church have? Surely people would come to recognize the same d/Deaf person(s)?

Cynthia said...

We have encountered the same with my boys in public and one time after I had surgery I was in a store and needed something on a top shelf. I couldn't reach it, as I wasn't supposed to stretch, so asked the young man working to help me. He rudely said, "You can't reach this?" I have had my teenage son asked to leave stores while shopping because the personnel thought he was taking too long and didn't want to hear he is visually impaired and trying to see the items. I have learned not to get upset (well, still do quietly) but rather use it as a teaching experience for both my children and those around us.